An Interview with Hurricane Fall

Hurricane Fall is an Australian four-piece country rock band, comprising of Jesse Vee on lead vocals and guitar, Pepper Deroy on lead vocals and bass, Jimmy Hick on lead guitar and Lachlan ‘Dusty’ Coffey on skins and percussion. I spoke to Jesse, Pepper and Dusty about the band and its future.

“All of us were friends before hand, and once we started writing together we clicked really well so that’s what bonded us together a bit more,” Jesse says. “Traveling and playing gigs has kept us together. We still have fun hanging out, so that’s really good.”

They grew up in the country musical capital of Tamworth, but had their sights on the larger city of Newcastle, where they’re now based. Considering Tamworth’s strong affiliation with the band’s genre, one could think this an odd move.

Pepper replies, “The live music scene in Newcastle is big! Whether you’re playing jazz or whatever, the appreciation for live music’s there.”

“The country music scene here would actually surprise you. Tamworth has the Country Music Festival so it’s predominately known as that, but we’ve got a solid fan base here in Newcastle who love country music as well,” Dusty adds. “The Central Coast, Wollongong; all of those areas love country music as well.”

Their backgrounds are as diverse as the music they grew up listening to. Jesse and Pepper started their careers in a rock cover band, with Dusty being bought in when they needed a new drummer. They soon started to develop their own writing and music style. Tim later joined, sharing the same views and vision for the band.

“We all listened to different sorts of music. We’re not solidly country listeners, although we do enjoy a lot. We’ve all got different backgrounds of things we listened to growing up, through jazz to heavy metal,” Pepper says.

Jesse grew up listening to Incubus, John Farnham and Troy Cassar-Daley. City and Colour was also a big influence on him when he moved to Newcastle as a solo artist five years ago. Dusty started off playing punk rock before moving into blues and reggae, but currently enjoys listening to “Florida Georgia Line, Frankie Ballard – guys like that”. Pepper’s country influences include Graeme Connors, Troy Cassar-Daley and Slim Dusty, but he enjoys Clink Black, Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire and Keith Urban’s earlier works.

Their fans range from young teens to the elderly. They’re part of the new wave of country, making naysayers question what the growing genre is.

Dusty tells, “To see young kids coming up and buying our CDs, I feel like we must be doing something right! Traditionally, country isn’t usually the younger generation’s jam, so to speak, but we sell a fair bit to the younger crowd, which is awesome to see because I don’t think there’s a lot of country artists that are really breaking that mixture of market.”

Their live shows are infectious and are vocal intense. Last year they were voted ‘Best Live Act’ in January 2016 at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, something that helped see their self-titled debut EP land the No.2 spot on the iTunes Country Music Charts.

“We like to put a lot of energy into our shows. We play a lot of upbeat stuff, but we also bring it down into spots where we want to connect with people. Not only on a level where they’re really enjoying themselves and having a party, but also on an emotional level as well. We like to give everyone a bit of everything in the shows that we play,” Jesse says. “The ultimate high is the crowd involving themselves as much as we do and feeding off the energy that we put out and then to have people sing back your own material.”

Pepper adds, “It’s our cree to bring 100% every gig so no matter what the gig, where it is [or] who’s there. It’s the same. Like a big Hurricane Fall performance!”

After their set, the boys love a chat and getting to know the people who come to their shows after their gig. While they have little down time but Dusty and Pepper share a love for fishing. Jesse says they spend a lot of time song writing, but confesses that’s not really down time at all.

Pepper notes, “We’re always on the road and/or rehearsing. We feel like if we’re not working, we’re not achieving anything, so that’s why we’re always working towards something. Whether it be writing or rehearsing.”

What sets them apart from other bands is having two lead vocalists. Sharing this weight allows them to interact more with each other and the crowd, rather than being stuck behind the microphone the whole show. Finding their voices blended together, they also didn’t want to take away the fact that both Jesse and Pepper were lead singers of their own groups/solo acts in the past.

“It would be interesting to do a cool collab with [Florida Georgia Line] because I think we would have a similar writing style and I feel like we would mesh. They’ve written their songs around having two lead vocalists and we also write ours accordingly,” Dusty adds.

Hurricane Fall’s latest single, How We Get Down is a mix of catchy lyrics with their signature country edge. Recorded at Spinlight Studio’s in Newcastle and produced by the band; the single comes off their second studio EP of the same name, which debuted at No.4 on the iTunes Country Music Charts.

Pepper says, “We wanted to write a song that was about life on the road with your mates, playing music and having fun. Sometimes it feels like a dream, which is what we’ve tried to portray in our clip. Life on the road can be tough at times but having fans respond to our music makes it all worth it!”

The music video was shot by Tom Blake from Gravity Films in Newcastle and recorded at Stockton Sand Dunes in Salt Ash, New South Wales.

“We all got sunburnt – and all went home with a lot of sand in a lot of places [but] we had an absolute ball! We weren’t wearing sunglasses and the sun was absolutely beaming. The first scene where Pepper starts to sing, you can see how hard he is squinting his eyes.” Dusty adds, “I feel like we delivered something unique in the country rock genre. We all collaborated together on the idea and that was the result.”

The song is a good indication of what their future album will be like. Fun and high energy is what they bring to their music/performances and that’s what they’re aiming for with their next release. They’re currently in the process of penning tracks, picking and choosing their favourites, and also plan to produce themselves. No co-writes are planned at the moment, but they’re open to it in the future.

“The songs we have now are better than the old, because we played the songs for six months before we record them. So, gauging off what the crowd’s reaction has been, the next album’s already going to be better,” Pepper says.

Their catalogue is extensive and they’re always testing new, unrecorded material on the road. Preferring to sing originals during their live shows, they don’t do many covers. If they do they avoid the traditional, instead opting for fun covers that get the crowd involved, such as Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks, Cruise by Florida Georgia Line and Save a Horse [Ride A Cowboy] by Big & Rich.

Keen to explore international waters, a trip to New Zealand is planned for later this year, and the States the following year to do some writing, recording and play some shows.

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Originally posted at the AU Review

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